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Erin Brown / Grand Vale Creative

No Thanksgiving break for agricultural markets

Some years, agriculture markets seem to make Thanksgiving week a full break. Volatility is at a minimum and markets do not move much in the few days ahead of the holiday, not to mention Friday when more focus is on Black Friday deals than trading. It seems that 2017 is bucking that trend, as there was plenty of price action ahead of Thursday's closed markets in the U.S. Soybean oil futures traded as much as 75 points lower on Nov. 20, India's import restrictions are altering export expectations for several commodities, and wheat markets are preparing for winter dormancy. It may be tough after all the turkey, but do not fall asleep on the agriculture markets this Thanksgiving!

Wheat

Wheat prices have not been able to find much footing of late. From a technical perspective, the December 2017 Minneapolis futures contract has been sitting just above support at $6.25 per bushel. This mark was the previous upward resistance point back in October, and is now holding prices up after an early November rally. But major upside is limited. Global supplies are huge.

Stocks in Canada and the U.S. are also very comfortable. With winter wheat plantings likely lower (again) and conditions not great heading into dormancy, one would expect some support. But the market is not concerned with these factors. There is just too much wheat in the world to get worked up about possibly lower production in 2018.

Durum

Durum markets were unchanged from a week ago. Little has changed fundamentally, making markets quiet heading into the long holiday weekend.

Canola

Canola markets fell with pressure from soybean oil and palm oil markets. Palm was hit hard last week as the Indian government will be implementing import duties to support local oil producers. As a major buyer of palm oil from Indonesia and Malaysia, this puts more edible oil on the global market for everyone else, and prices dipped as a result. Demand from China and the U.S. for canola remains good, but the market is unwilling to stay firm and price itself out of competition with other oils.

Peas and lentils

Pulse markets have stabilized following the Indian government's import duties that will support local farmers. This has been processed by the markets with previous pressure. Traders are now taking a look at the potential business for the coming year, with some market bears to overcome.

Mustard

Agriculture Canada has put the 2017-18 mustard seed forecast at 115,000 metric tons, in line with the previous estimate from Statistics Canada. This is a significant drop from last year's incredible 236,000 metric ton crop. Exports are expected to reach 125,000 metric tons in the 2017-18 crop year, a small increase from last year's 124,000 metric ton total. However, domestic usage is set to drop modestly.

Barley

Good demand for barley is expected to support prices into 2018. The Canadian Farm Ministry is expecting steady markets through the holiday season, but smaller crops in Australia and the European Union should bolster export business in the new year. Additionally, the spread versus world corn prices is sitting at a three-year high. AAFC increased their 2017-18 price forecast to $205-235 per metric ton Canadian.

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